U.S. APG-ACCOUNT PLANNING AWARDS – The Finalists: Prudential Insurance Company of America Be Your Own Rock

For years, Prudential had been running lifestyle advertising that, in the opinion of Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis, had little to no impact on sales or public perceptions. We felt consumers still thought of Prudential as an insurance company despite its diversified financial services capabilities.
One bright spot: Prudential had a tremendous equity in “The rock.” But its personality-reinforced by the tagline, “Get a piece of the rock”-merely reinforced the perception of the brand as yet another self-centered, intractable insurance company.
We decided the agency’s task was to make the Prudential brand more relevant to consumers in a way that would support all the company’s business units-from insurance to securities to real estate.
An interdisciplinary team of planners, creatives and account managers melded consumer insights from Yankelovich, proprietary client studies and our own focus groups. Consumers helped us understand the steps to take to a successful brand repositioning.
The first step was easy. Through personification exercises backed up by client data, it became clear that Prudential must transcend an insurance category that-filled with paternalistic, unfriendly brands and unscrupulous agents-was considered the enemy by consumers.
Second, consumers told us that the traditional category benefit of “piece of mind” had been redefined, from protection against early death to planning against the possibility of outlasting your income. Third, consumers today understand they must create their own financial plan to meet their needs. Assistance from other sources-government, pensions, even family-may not be there for them in the future.
The fourth step came from our qualitative research on how consumers respond to messages of hope, not fear. “Should” messages are neither differentiating nor motivating in this category, as consumers are looking for a brand that will help them solve problems, not add to their anxiety.
Our fifth and final step was to listen to consumers’ voices in Yankelovich and focus groups telling us they want to be, and need to be, in control, not at the mercy of untrustworthy institutions. Consumers responded best to messages of empowerment that also acknowledged how difficult it is to put the plan in place.
Since all of Prudential’s business units provide assistance in life planning-home, health, retirement, etc.-Prudential’s role in helping consumers plan is broadly relevant. Thus, our communications strategy was to persuade consumers that Prudential can help you take control of your financial future. Or, in the words of the brand mantra: “Live well. Make a plan. Be your own rock.”
In sum, our efforts were designed to move Prudential from a position of strength and security, based on consumer anxiety (“Get a piece of the rock”), to a position of planning and empowerment, based on hope (“Be your own rock”).
The campaign used positive, older role models (“rocks”)-real people who lived and were living great lives, free to live on their own terms because they had planned ahead when they were younger.
While the campaign ran for only six months in a historically slow-moving and low-interest category, it significantly drove interest and sales for Prudential.

Credits:
CLIENT
Elizabeth Krupnick, Chief Comm. Officer
Mary Lou Sack, VP, Advertising
Gabrielle Shanin, Dir., Advertising (Brand)
Phil Davies, VP, Survey Research

AGENCY
Bill Westbrook, President and Creative Dir.
Rob White, Dir., Account Planning
Ben Kline, Group Dir.
Amy Nicholson, Art Dir.
Mary Van Note, Senior Account Planner